‘Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world’. Nelson Mandela
The Education Department’s main focus is ensuring access to education to orphans and vulnerable children. Support is through early childhood development education; direct school fees payment; accelerated learning for primary school children that have never attended school by age 9 or that dropped out before completing primary education; non-formal education for secondary school learners that failed to transit from primary to secondary and those that dropped out before completing secondary level; capacity building of teachers, nonteaching staff, school development committee members, community case care workers and local leaders to champion the rights of children with disabilities and provision of learning and teaching material in selected schools offering part time continuing education. The interventions are as explained below;
Out of School Study Group (OSSG)
This intervention was necessitated by the notably significant number of children loitering in the suburbs of Harare where the organisation is operating in. The out of school study group offers accelerated learning for primary scholars providing basic literacy and numeric skills to children between the ages of 9 to 15 years who never attended school by age 9 or who have been out of school for at least one year before completing primary level education. The community study group offers accelerated learning to children for a period between 6 to 24 months in preparation for reintegration into the formal schools. The primary school course compresses and categorises the 8 years of primary education into three levels, that is, Level One (preschool-Grade 3) , Level Two (Grade 4 and 5, Level Three (Grade 6 and 7). Children have successfully been reintegrated and progressing with their education through this non-formal education program.
Part Time Continuing Education (PTCE)
The PTCE program is run in public schools and the learners are taught by qualified existing teachers within the schools. The OSSG expanded in 2014 targeting secondary school learners between the ages of 13 to 18 who failed to complete secondary education or who did not have the opportunity to proceed to secondary. The aim is assisting children attain a basic secondary certificate which will help them for entry into tertiary or vocational training. Currently the organization is supporting PTCE programs in four selected schools in Zvimba and 1 PTCE site at Chiedza Centre. Support for PTCE includes payment of facilitators’ stipends, procurement of teaching and learning material for PTCE and provision of a grant for income generation to the PTCE sites as a sustainability strategy for the project.
Direct fees payment
As learners graduate from the out of school study group, they are reintegrated into government school where the organization has committed to assist parents and caregivers in payment of school fees for the first year after reintegration. Direct fees payment has contributed to retention of learners in school. There are also individual sponsors and donors who help the centre offer educational assistance to Orphans and Vulnerable Children in secondary school and some learners have progressed through to advanced level. The package includes school fees, stationery, and uniforms.